I’m in Burgundy again visiting my friends Di and Tam. I was here much the same time last year but this year is definitely a lot hotter as a heatwave scorches across Europe. They have some exciting plans for us over my three days here and it was fortuitous, given the soaring temperature, that the plan for today was to head into the Franche-Comte area of France and the Jura, a plain of hills covered in vines that rises up into the Jura mountain range in the southeast. There are deep valleys, lakes and cascades – tall waterfalls. And, we hoped … cooler air!
When we arrived at the Beaume-les-Messieurs cascade the usual dramatic large waterfall was barely a trickle. However it was still a beautiful area, peaceful and calm, and the place had such a magical feel it was almost like something out of a fairy tale.
After walking round for a while we drove the short distance back to the Beaumes-les-Messieurs village, cutting through the valley overshadowed by dramatic limestone cliffs.
We parked the car and walked up a steep road into the centre. We’d booked a table for lunch at a restaurant but had time to go into the Baume Abbey first.
The abbey was founded in the late 6th century as a Benedictine abbey. It was secularised in the late 18th century at the time of the French Revolution and is today considered an historic building and is privately owned.
It was a lovely building with inner courtyards and inside the abbey it was simple and tranquil.
Almost opposite was our restaurant – Le Grand Jardin. We chose a table outside and were pleased to find a slight and welcome breeze blowing gently to cool us off.
Di and Tam know a lot about wine, which is lucky for me. They live in Burgundy but as we were in the Jura, Tam chose a bottle of the local Jura wine for us.
The wine was a revelation; very different to any other white wine. In fact it smelled and tasted very much like sherry but was only 13 per cent, so quite light in alcohol. Maybe not something I’d want to drink a lot but I liked it and enjoyed the experience of sampling this Jura wine.
Di and I chose the Menu Terroir (€28 for 3 courses) and Tam decided to have a main course from the a la carte.
Di had a bruschetta with vegetables and local Morteau sausage to start.
I had a trout gravlax which was delicious.
Di and I both had a local fish – Filet d’Omble Chevalier – as our main, which was served with a local cremant sauce and pea purée. It was very good.
Tam meanwhile had Bresse chicken with morilles and vin jaune sauce.
Neither Di nor I could resist choosing Cafe Gourmand for our dessert – coffee served with small helpings of strawberry pannacotta, chocolate mousse and a little blueberry muffin. Brilliant!
After our leisurely and lovely lunch, we headed to Toulouse-le-Chateau to visit MAUSA – Musee des Arts Urbains et du Street Art. Di and Tam had been before and thought I’d like it. I loved it!
Housed on the old site of a former foundry where there was communal living, this now displays wonderful street art.
It was an exciting place to visit and the juxtaposition of modern street art set against a backdrop of crumbling old buildings worked really well.
It was a wonderful day’s outing with some unusual and fascinating things to enjoy – from the magical scenery, to a very different and delicious wine, to bold and fabulous street art in a – to me! – highly unlikely but fascinating setting.